Can You Smoke Medical Marijuana In Public In 2021?

Since the legalization of medical marijuana began in the United States, 36 states and four territories have allowed for the use of cannabis products for medical reasons. The change in medical marijuana laws that has occurred in those states has helped many people find relief from symptoms of various health ailments – but the laws regarding the use of medical marijuana in public may not be common knowledge as of yet. So, where can you legally smoke or consume medical marijuana products in the United States? Can you smoke medical marijuana in public in 2021? Let’s answer these questions and more.

Where can you smoke medical marijuana in public in 2021?

The last surrounding legalities when it comes to medical marijuana have been changing rapidly in the last few years. This has left people unsure of what’s legal and what’s not. Factor in the difference in laws on a state-by-state basis, and the whole thing becomes even more confusing. The laws between medicinal marijuana and recreational cannabis are also different.

In the United States, there is no designated area specified for those who want to smoke medicinal or recreational marijuana. It seems that all states have come to the agreement that public smoking of medical cannabis should not be allowed. The only exceptions are in California and Colorado, where some businesses have cannabis licenses that allow them to provide people with a public place to ingest cannabis. These cannabis lounges mirror bars for alcohol use. The only other place where medical marijuana patients can ingest their medication is in the comfort of their own home.

Where can you consume tinctures or edibles in public?

The use of medical marijuana tinctures or edibles in public varies on a state-by-state basis. This means that in some states a person can eat edibles no matter where they are, and in others it is just as illegal as if they were smoking medical marijuana.

person holding medical marijuana cigarette
Image by Jeff W on Unsplash: How easy is it to get a medical card in California?

Do you still need a medical card in California in 2021?

Although marijuana is legal in California for both recreational and medicinal purposes, it is still a good idea to get a medical card if you are dealing with an approved medical condition. For patients with medicinal marijuana needs, it is better to get a card so you have documentation to provide to authorities. This is because those with medical marijuana cards are allowed to grow and possess more cannabis than those who use it for recreational purposes. 

How do you get a medical card in California in 2021?

For those looking to get a medical marijuana card in California, you will have to go through the medical marijuana identification card program registration process. Although the program is optional to consume marijuana products in this state, it is suggested for those who wish to verify that they are allowed to carry and or grow medical marijuana.

To get a medical marijuana card in California, you must first put together the proper documentation to apply for the card. This documentation includes a copy of your medical recommendation, a personal identification card or other government-issued ID, and proof of residency. Proof of residency can be a rental or mortgage agreement, any bills that you pay at the residence with your address and name on them, or a California DMV motor vehicle registration.

Once you have gathered all your documents, you will need to apply in person at your County program. The application comes with a fee of up to $100. You will also need to get your photo taken at the County program office for the medical marijuana card. Once the application process is done it can take up to 30 days for your application to be verified, and then up to 35 days to receive your medical marijuana card. 

mmj plant
Image by Roberto Valdivia on Unsplash: Getting a medical marijuana in California is still suggested for patients even though recreational marijuana is now legal, too.

Can a minor get a medical card in California?

In California, minors under the age of 18 can apply for a medical marijuana card as either a patient or a caregiver. if the minor is applying for themselves, they need to be lawfully emancipated or have a declared self-sufficiency status under the California law. If those two conditions are not met, the County program office has to contact the legal guardians of the minor to verify information on their application.

Consuming medical marijuana in California can be easy to do if you go through the proper channels. However, you will have to consume your MMJ at an approved location, which is currently only your home or another private residence.

Featured image by Elsa Olofsson on Unsplash

Is Coronavirus Mainly Spread By Coughing? How MMJ Smokers Can Reduce Their Risk

Since the onset of the COVID-19 pandemic in the early months of 2020, many people have been affected by the disease. Roughly 103 million people have contracted the virus at the time of writing, with over two million of those people losing their lives to the disease. With the pandemic still in full effect across the globe, the worry of contracting the virus and experiencing severe complications is still at the top of everyone’s minds.

For those who take medical marijuana to help them cope with complications of chronic disease, that worry may be heightened, especially if the chosen method of ingestion is through smoking. But what effect does smoking medical marijuana have on COVID-19? And are those who take medical marijuana more at risk?

How is COVID-19 mainly transmitted?

There are many ways that the COVID-19 virus can be transmitted from person to person. The biggest transmission risk is through droplets in the air. When a person coughs, sneezes, sings, shouts, or talks, respiratory droplets are pushed out into the air. If someone breathes in infected droplets, they too now have the virus inside their body.

The droplets range in size from small (often referred to as aerosols, which can linger in the air) to large (which fall to the ground rapidly). This leads the assumption that larger droplets are less of a threat than smaller ones. Coughing can produce both large and small droplets, depending on their origin. If the droplets are produced in the larynx and then coughed into the air, they are likely smaller droplets, whereas droplets from the oral cavity while coughing will typically be larger.

MMJRecs - marijuana cigarette
Image by Elsa Olofsson on Unsplash: Could smoking medical marijuana put you more at risk for contracting COVID-19? 

Are smokers more vulnerable to contracting COVID-19?

According to the World Health Organization, smokers may be more vulnerable to contracting the virus, but not because of the effects that smoking has on the body. Smokers are likely more vulnerable because the act of smoking involves putting something to your mouth using your hands, which may be contaminated. This hand-to-mouth motion increases the likelihood of transmission of the virus.

Many people often smoke in social situations as well, which can lead to increased risk of transmission if sharing is occurring. For those who smoke medical marijuana, that social aspect is generally eliminated, and thus the risk of transmission is lower than those who smoke cigarettes or recreational marijuana.

How could smoking affect COVID-19?

Since smoking medical marijuana increases the risk of respiratory infection and complications, it could lead to worse outcomes if someone were to catch the virus. The smoking of cannabis can damage the lungs, and since COVID-19 is a lung infection, this can lead to more severe symptoms. Some research has also suggested that THC may have the ability to alter the efficacy of the immune system, which could make it harder for someone to fight off a COVID-19 infection.

However, other studies have found contradictory results when it comes to cannabis and immunosuppression. Other research has also found that the use of CBD can actually reduce complications and severe symptoms in those with COVID-19. The information is not conclusive, though, and more studies are needed to determine the accuracy of the study’s findings. It also wasn’t clear in the study whether CBD was taken via smoking.

Alternate MMJ dosing methods

The use of medical marijuana via smoking may be some patients’ first choice of ingestion method. But due to the repercussions it can have on lung health, and taking into consideration the COVID-19 pandemic, some may wish to change out how they ingest MMJ. The good news is that there are plenty of dosing methods available for those who require medical marijuana to deal with their chronic conditions.

The first alternative that’s most like smoking is vaporizing. The process is similar, but using a vaporizer involves the inhalation of vapor instead of smoke. It’s not clear whether or not vapor is a healthy alternative to smoking in this instance, though.

MMJRecs - gummies
Image by Sarah Takforyan on Unsplash: Medical marijuana has many dosing methods, including edible gummies.

Methods that don’t include any inhalation, which may be good options for those wishing to change their dosing method, include eating MMJ, topical application, or oils. Edible medical marijuana can be ingested through various types of foods such as gummy candies or baked goods. Topical marijuana provides the dose by applying it to the skin, and oils are ingested by placing the appropriate dose under the tongue until it dissolves in the mouth.

Each method will come with different wait times to feel its effects. For example, someone who smokes medical marijuana will likely feel the effects minutes following ingestion, whereas an edible dose can take up to two hours.

During the COVID-19 pandemic, many people may wish to do everything they can for their health to ensure that if they do contract the virus, they have a fighting chance of a full recovery. For those who take medical marijuana, this means staying the course in your treatment and opting for a different dosing method if you are worried about the risks that smoking may cause.

Featured image by Elsa Olofsson on Unsplash